Leaders from the private and public sectors have lined up in a new program designed to help younger professionals, mid-level management, and senior leaders define different options for career growth as product safety professionals.
The series “Product Safety Leadership in Practice: Career Planning and Growth,” will be held as a virtual program that starts on September 20. The program is sponsored by the Society of Product Safety Professionals (SPSP) in cooperation with ADK Information Services, LLC, providing product safety management education programs since 2010.
Product safety professionals lead the way so that companies design, produce, and sell products to consumers that do not pose unreasonable risks. The seven-part series that constitute the “Career Planning and Growth” program will explore how professionals who are in the midst of their careers can make more informed decisions after hearing how established leaders explain their own choices.
“It’s important that professionals have a broad look at the options available to them as they build their careers, “ according to Shelia Gottschalk, President of SPSP, in describing the purpose of the fall course.
As applies to all SPSP/ADK education programs, participants are encouraged to grow their networks through joint activities with their peers in class and to continue building relationships with many of the other 600 graduates of SPSP/ ADK education programs once they have completed their own course. All participants in the “Product Safety Leadership in Practice: Career Planning and Growth” will receive a Certificate of Completion.
The career planning program leads off with a session moderated by Marie-Claude Simard, product safety manager for BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products) in Canada, where she is recognized for her 20 years of experience as a rigorous professional delivering projects and ability to inspire, train and develop multidisciplinary teams. Panel members feature Guillermo Rodriguez, Global Senior Director, Product Safety & Compliance, Harbor Freight Tools, where he applies his background in directing and improving quality and regulatory compliance of globally sourced industrial and consumer products; and Kim Mason, Senior Director of Compliance for Five Under, where she reviews and evaluates new regulations, informing cross-functional departments regarding updated requirements.
Other role models sharing perspectives include regulatory leaders in the product safety field.
“Hearing from leaders at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission discuss their own paths to the highest position in a regulatory agency makes clear that there are many important growth opportunities that prepare them for their leadership roles,” according to Don Mays, Vice President of the Board of Directors of SPSP. He will lead separate interview sessions featuring former Chair Inez Tenenbaum of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and former Acting Chair of the Commission, Ann Marie Buerkle.
Ms. Tenenbaum’s background included serving as Director of Research for a major committee in the South Carolina House of Representatives, serving as State Superintendent of Education for eight years, and practicing administrative law in private practice.
Ms. Buerkle served on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission as a Commissioner (2012-2019) and Acting Chair (2017-2019). Her background included serving as a registered nurse, serving as an attorney and Assistant New York State Attorney General, and holding the elective office of Member of the U.S. House of Representatives for New York District 25 from 2011-to 2013.
The program will feature a self-assessment segment that benefits any professional focused on career enhancement, led by Steve Epner, an instructor in the MBA program at Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz School of Business. “Business professionals need to have an understanding of what their own strengths and weaknesses are, as well as what motivates others in terms of their approach to business and decision making,” according to the respected innovator and author. He will lead an interactive session with class members on how planning, creativity, and communications are essential skills in career growth. He is the author of ‘Simplify Everything’, a business guide on effective management for professionals.
Other instructors and their topics in the program include:
Michael del Negro, Vice President of Product Safety Compliance for Peloton Interactive. His previous experiences include GE Appliance, a Haier Company, where he was Chief Compliance Officer & Associate General Counsel, and GE, where he was Senior Counsel, Product Safety & Regulatory Compliance. Prior to that he was with Winston & Strawn LLP, attorneys. His topic is ‘Understanding what a company’s senior leadership needs and expects from its product safety professionals.’
Timothy Sullivan, Senior Vice President, Global Quality/Compliance/Sustainability for Spin Master, a $2 billion children’s toy, entertainment, and digital games producer based in Toronto, Canada. His topic is ‘The Challenge of building a global product safety program to support its company’s global ambition.’ His previous experience included Hasbro and Kenner in Hong Kong. He has held executive positions in product design and project management, is fluent in Cantonese, and is recognized as a leading specialist in Asia toy engineering and manufacturing.
Kenneth d’Entremont, Associate Professor (Lecturer), Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah, ‘Aligning values and priorities for companies and their employees.’ Professor d’Entremont’s background includes work in the private sector for companies in the manufacturing and engineer consulting segments. He is the author of ‘Engineering Ethics and Design for Product Safety,’ a highly recognized book that contributes to the literature of product safety engineering.